Dear Tired Mama…

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I’ve had a rough winter. It has rained more here in Texas this winter than I ever remember it raining. There’s also two things you need to know about me: 1) I hate the rain. 2) I hate the cold. Needless to say, it’s been a long winter. As a mom, it’s tough when it rains. You have to get out in the rain to drop off and pick up kids from all sorts of activities, and you also have to get all of your littles out in the rain. Plus, they can’t go outside and get any energy out, so my house has been a mess full of forts, wrestling matches, and just general dumping out of toys everywhere.

I was running on fumes already with two of my boys playing basketball, and then I got sick. I have now had a cough and congestion for three straight weeks. Just as I was beginning to feel better, one of the kids got sick. Then, my little man got the flu. I am reminded just how high maintenance he can be. The nights are long. He’ll fuss and want a sip of juice. Then he’ll change his mind and want milk. Then he’ll want me to pat his belly. Ya’ll, I can’t make this stuff up. I feel like a zombie. I probably look like one too. My oldest gave me a hard time yesterday because I almost passed our house when I was bringing him home from baseball practice. I told him it had been a long day. What I really thought was, it’s been a long month. A long winter. A long couple years without his dad. Without help coming in the door at 5:30. Or ever. It’s been a long few years trying to balance all of my typical duties like dishes, laundry, homeschooling, and meal planning plus all of the things he took care of like finances, running boys to practices, and generally running the family. Can you relate?

Do you ever get tired of being tired? I have good news for you. Spring is coming. Today is the second straight day we’ve had sun here in Texas. Today, we will be going to our first baseball game, compliments of my oldest son. I’m still tired, but there’s hope. Maybe you need to hear that too. Maybe you can’t remember the last time you didn’t feel exhausted. The last time you had a break. God wants you to know that his mercies are new every morning. It may have been a long winter, but spring is coming. I can’t tell you when your life will get easier, but I want you to know that God will not abandon you in this season he’s placed you in. Someday, you will be able to look back and see how far God has brought you. Your life doesn’t look like you anticipated, but whose does? Everyone has struggles, your’s are just different than you expected.

What do you do in the meantime? How do you keep going when you’re exhausted? Concentrate on the important things, and let the other stuff go. Find ways, even little ones, to simplify your days. Give yourself grace and space to breathe. It’s OK to occasionally take a break. You can’t keep going nonstop; you must take care of yourself so that your train doesn’t come screeching to a halt. When time is at a minimum, it’s easy to neglect yourself. Believe me, I’ve skipped plenty of meals to save time. I end up tired, cranky, and not feeling well. Believe it or not, coffee is not a meal. I know. I’ve tried that too.

Focus on your accomplishments. It’s usually not good to toot our own horn, but as moms, I think we focus on our failures all too often. Make a list of things you’ve accomplished – even the seemingly insignificant ones. Have your kids bathed in the last week? Congratulations. Have you bathed in the last week? Good job. Do you feed your kids? Keep up the good work. Celebrate all of your accomplishments.

Take a moment to look around you. It’s easy to see only the negative when you look around, but if you take some time, I’m sure you’ll find plenty of things to be grateful for too. If they’re like mine, your kids probably like to complain and whine. They may have trouble getting along sometimes. However, when push comes to shove, my kids can be pretty great. On one of the days when I felt my worst, my ten-year-old, who usually tries his hardest to get out of work, actually offered to do the dishes for me. On another day, when I wasn’t feeling that great, and little guy’s fever came up crazy high despite Motrin, I had to cut out of dinner prep to take him to an urgent care clinic. My oldest got off of Fortnite without even complaining and finished up dinner. When I returned home two hours later, with a sickly, flu-ridden toddler, my oldest had cleaned the entire kitchen, done the dishes, and left dinner on the stove for me. Our kids can be pretty great when they want to be.

When you’re struggling with exhaustion, don’t allow Satan to steal your hope. The dark days of winter can sometimes leave us floundering to find the light at the end of the tunnel, but it’s hope that keeps our souls tethered to the Lord. It’s hope that gives us the strength we need to keep going, to keep trusting. Don’t give up, sweet friend. Spring is coming.

 

Side note: Sometimes, you just need a good laugh. Ask your kids to do a dance or put on a skit for you. If that fails, watch stupid videos on Facebook. I found one the other day of a mom who was trying her hardest to recreate supermodel commercials. I laughed so hard I cried.

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Clarity and Focus for the New Year

“I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.” Isaiah 41:18

It takes a very long time after you’ve lost your other half to get any sort of clarity about your situation. For so long, you’re just in pure survival mode. The way of life you had and the way you looked at life…it’s all stolen from you the moment your spouse dies. You have to evaluate everything because everything’s changed. In the middle of the dark valley, we can’t expect to have clarity. We wander around, trying to get out of the valley. Sometimes, we think we’re making progress only to find out we’re just stumbling in circles. Eventually, we do make it out of the valley, but we’re beaten, broken, and bruised from our journey. Why do I say this? To let you know that even once you’ve survived the loss of your heart, you will still hurt. Always. An actress in a recent TV show I watched said, “My dad always said that loss is the price you pay for love.” She didn’t know if the pain was worth it. It’s nice to know that there’s been multiple TV shows made about the plight of a young widow. There’s something sad yet humorous about the fact that your life has been made into multiple TV shows.

I used to be so angry with Trevor. I would yell at him, “I hope you’re enjoying sitting by the river of life while I’m dealing with your wayward, stubborn children down here!” I would also yell things like this at God and ask him to pass the message along to him. It seems a little ridiculous, a little disrespectful, but that’s the way I’ve felt at times, especially when my boys are displaying Trevor’s genes. It doesn’t seem fair that I should have to deal with his personality quirks. However, with time comes clarity. I can see a different perspective sometimes. When I see our son land a three-point shot in basketball or see our daughter dance so gracefully or watch my two youngest snuggling or hear our son recite a whole Bible passage from memory…at these times I am grateful. I feel sorry for Trevor because I get to see these things, and he doesn’t. I realize then that I am deeply blessed because he never got the opportunity to see these things. I will see the people our children become…and he won’t. There are still days I get angry; this life is exhausting and frustrating, but I can also clearly see now that I am also blessed.

Life is still really hard. However, I now have the clarity to look back and see that God has never left us. While others have let us down and left us on our own, God never has. He has carried us through the valley, and he will continue to carry us. Losing Trevor has also given me clarity on the things in life that are truly important and the things that aren’t. You can’t have your life turned upside down without gaining a completely new perspective.

In Hebrews, God tells us that hope is an anchor for our soul. It keeps us from drifting off-course. It keeps us grounded in the storms. With clarity, we gain hope because we can see what God has done for us and will continue to do for us. Cling to this hope. For this new year, hold fast to hope. Let it be the focus of your year.

There are going to be days that are rough. It’s hard to spend your days chauffeuring kids around to activities and cooking and cleaning and tucking in kids and waking them up and waking them up again and tucking them in again. It never ends. And children are not grateful people; they are selfish little creatures. After you’ve stood up and cooked a healthy meal for them, instead of thanking you, they will most likely complain. Instead of being grateful you drug your tired self to another practice, they will be upset because they weren’t there early enough to play with their friends before practice started. Just know that God sees everything you do. It’s not without purpose. God sees, and He knows. He will give you the strength you need to keep going.

This year, worry less. Give yourself grace. Some days, instead of cleaning or making a gourmet meal, you just need to snuggle with your kids and watch a movie. Allow yourself to have these moments. They are what keep you going. Do things that refresh your soul. Find joy in the little things and rest in the promises of God.

Lane and Bo fishing

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Cana and me at Nutcracker

Looking Forward…and Looking Back

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Starting a new decade makes me think of all kinds of things. This year will mark twenty years since I graduated from high school. (This makes me feel really old!) It makes me think of all that can happen in the timespan of a decade.

I started this past decade with moving to a rural town after a lifetime of being a city girl. I had two precious boys after years of trying to have a second child. The decade brought two more kids, a move abroad to the mission field, and a move back to Texas. In the time span of ten years, I went from being a full-time working mom to being a stay-at-home homeschool widow. In 2017, my life fell apart. In an instant, all of my plans, hopes, and dreams crashed to the ground. Quite literally.

Over the past two plus years, I’ve had to fight to pick up the pieces of my life and carry on. I had to learn to not only be on my own for the first time ever, but to be alone while caring for four children on my own. I’ve learned the true meaning of exhaustion and the true feeling of loneliness. I now know what it means to live through hell. I’ve been there.

I’ve also learned I’m a lot stronger than I knew, not because of me but because the God I serve gives me strength. I’ve come to a deeper understanding of the truths of God. Now, I don’t just read the words of the psalmist David, I’ve experienced them. Scripture resonates with my soul like never before. My faith has kept me going, even when I was falling apart.

I’m starting a new decade, and I can see hope in our future. I also know there will still be hard days, and that’s Ok. There will always be hard days, but I will do what I do on the good days: just live them. I will do my best, and it won’t always be enough, but that’s OK too.

God has sent me blessings this past decade where I least expected to find them. He has overwhelmed me with difficulty and tragedy time and time again. It’s easy to ask why. It’s natural to ask why. However, we know why. Scripture tells us why: to make us more like him.

Losing the most important person in my world gives me a whole new perspective on life. It permeates my views on things and the way I live my life. I will never be the same. It taught me the things that really matter and the things that don’t. It taught me some important lessons about life and people. Hope and trust. Joy and sorrow.

I feel like I’ve aged 50 years in the last ten, but then again, I’ve gone through more changes in a decade than some people experience in a lifetime. I’ve learned how to live even when I feel like I’m dying inside. I’ve learned that living means trusting – trusting that God has a plan even for great pain. It means trusting him in deep darkness that he will provide a light and a way out. Eventually.

I’ve seen that the saying is true: the days are long, but the years are short. I’m watching my children grow up before my eyes. It happens so fast. One minute they’re in diapers, and the next, they’re teenagers. We must make the most of our days. We don’t know how many we have left. We have such a limited time with these precious little people that God has blessed us with. We must pour into them. Love them. Shower them with grace. Teach them right and wrong. Pour into them the word of God. Teach them. Remind them. Train them. We must find ways to cherish these days, even the long and exhausting ones.

We don’t know what the next decade holds. It may be full of joy or unspeakable pain. Either way, we know that our God will be with us, and He has a plan for our life. He has a plan for the good and the bad. We have the promise that he works all things for our good, and that’s a promise that can carry us through the next decade…and the rest of our lives.

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Don’t Miss Out on the Mystery of Christmas

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I have been so busy this last month. Christmas parties, decorating for Christmas, wrapping presents, keeping kids out of the presents, making gingerbread houses, etc. Sometimes we get so busy that we miss out on the true mystery enfolded into Christmas.

Christmas is about both joy and suffering. The joy of a Savior born, coupled with the knowledge that this Savior was born to die and bear the price of our sins. The Creator of the universe, willingly made human, to experience all the sorrows of a human life so he would be the perfect high priest and mediator for us.

Christ wasn’t born in a palace. Angels didn’t announce his birth to religious leaders or royalty. He came to the lowly, the humble, the unsuspecting. This is the mystery of Christmas.

God whispers to those forgotten by this world that he sees them. He uses those that feel they’re insignificant to turn the world upside down. If you feel like you’re just going through the motions this season, take heart. God sees you. He knows all you do for those you love. He knows when you’re weary or you feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter. Let me remind you that what you’re doing with your precious little ones, day in and day out, has eternal significance.

Christmas is about redemption and restoration. If you’re having a hard time this Christmas, remember that God heals the broken and restores those who have lost big.

Mary may have felt alone when she gave birth to her first child far from home. She may have felt lonely when she and Joseph had to flee to Egypt, a foreign land with a foreign culture and religion, far from what she had always known. But guess what? God was always with her. Both her heavenly father and in the very tangible presence of her son Jesus. God is with you too. This is how we can celebrate at Christmas, no matter our circumstances. We can always have hope because we have a Savior who came at Christmas to give us just that – hope. If you feel defeated, remember that he’s already defeated sin and death. Through him, we’ve already won. Let the promises of God found in His word sink into your heart this Christmas (and everyday.) You are loved, and you are never ever alone.

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Creating a Life-Giving Home

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During the holiday season, we always hear about going home or other family members coming home. It got me thinking about what home really means. I read a wonderful book by Sally Clarkson before Trevor’s death called A Life-Giving Home. Doing just that became vital after Trevor’s death.

Why is home so important? We all need a place we can come to to find refuge and strength in the midst of life’s storms. There are days when our lives will leave us battered and bruised, and we all need a place to come to where we find unconditional love and acceptance. We all need a place of comfort and peace. Home can provide just that. Home can give us consolation after a difficult day, a loving embrace in the wake of tragedy, or a celebration after a victory. We all need what home provides for our soul.

Home isn’t just about decorating or sculpting the perfect Pinterest-worthy room. It’s about the feeling it provides for those in it. It’s true that our surroundings can provide beauty and comfort, but it’s more about the heart than it is the aesthetics of the home. You can have the most beautiful home and it still feel empty and cold. A home is built with love, specifically the love of Christ.

If you find yourself alone this holiday or if your home feels broken beyond repair, take heart. Christ lived and did ministry with no home to lay his head so that, through faith in him, we could always have a home with our heavenly Father. A true, personal relationship with Christ gives us a home so that we’re never truly alone. Through Jesus, our homes can always be restored and redeemed.

Whether your heart is full this Thanksgiving or you’re struggling just to make it, remember that God loves you and has a plan for your life. You can always come home to him and have a home with him.

We strive to create a home that offers life to those in it while we are here on this earth. However, these homes pale in comparison to the heavenly place our Lord and Savior has promised he’s preparing for us. This Thanksgiving, let’s be thankful for that home we will enjoy for all eternity.

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Making the Holidays Happy Again

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Christmas is hard. It’s bittersweet at best, and terribly painful at worst once you’ve lost someone you love. It’s a reminder of what you once had and what you won’t ever have again. As you see blissfully happy families and couples everywhere, how do you enjoy the holidays again?

First of all, I encourage you to remember what the holidays are truly about. Thanksgiving doesn’t really have to do with pigging out on a turkey feast. It means giving thanks to God in the middle of life. When we can praise God in the midst of tragedy, maybe we are closer to the true meaning of this holiday. At Christmas, we can remember that while we may have lost someone we love and life may be chaotic and difficult sometimes, Christ came to this earth to redeem and restore us. He came so death doesn’t have the final say. That’s the hope of Christmas.

The next thing I would say is do things that make you happy. I love decorating my house for Christmas. You can find sales at craft stores and inexpensive decorations at Wal-mart and dollar stores. Sometimes, surrounding yourself with pretty things is helpful to getting through a difficult time like the holidays. If you like Christmas lights (like I do!), round up that ten-year-old who’s rolling his eyes at you and drag that teenager away from his phone or video game for a minute and make them go with you. They’ll secretly enjoy it, and they can also be easily bribed with treats at the end. I also love to read Christmas stories and books to my kids, even if they don’t appreciate it. Christmas movies are always fun too. My daughter and I have already had way too much fun sipping hot chocolate while we watch Hallmark movies.

I have found it’s helpful to keep some of your old traditions but also to start new ones. Ask your kids which ones are meaningful to them as you make these choices. You may be surprised at which ones they enjoy and remember.

Do an advent devotional with your kids. It’s always good to remind them too of what the season is really about. Also, if you have older children, let them know it’s OK if they feel sad at times during the holidays. You can even ask them if there’s anything you can do to help them through this time besides praying for them.

It’s also OK to say no to events that will cause you undue stress or pain during the holidays. Don’t feel like you have to do everything. Depression and anxiety can get worse if you wear yourself out.

Sweet friend, go get some coffee, prop your feet up, and watch a good Christmas movie. I’m praying that the holidays can become a happy time again for you as you celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior.

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Redemption and Restoration

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I have clung to 1 Peter 5:10 since losing Trevor. Why? Because it’s a promise. A promise that, at some point after suffering, God will restore us, strengthen us, and establish us. A sweet friend from our language school in Costa Rica actually had an artist friend hand-paint the verse for me, and I have it framed in my bedroom. On the hard days, it’s a reminder of what God has already promised he will do, and when God makes a promise, he will always bring it to pass.

The difficult part is timing. He doesn’t tell us when. In fact, there’s no guarantee it will even happen in this lifetime. I wish I could promise that he will restore you and redeem your pain soon. He very well might. However, we don’t know that. That’s where faith comes in. We trust that he will, but in his timing, not ours.

Joseph was restored and became leader of all Egypt, second only to Pharaoh. Abraham didn’t live to see the fruition of all God’s promises to him. In fact, his descendants are continuing even today, but he couldn’t see nearly all of the picture while he was alive. Job was restored after his suffering, but the prophets of the Old Testament didn’t live to see the coming Messiah they wrote about. I share these examples because some people will see redemption and restoration abundantly in this life…and some won’t. Unfortunately, we don’t get to choose.

This doesn’t sound like good news. I wish I could hold your hand and look you in the eyes and tell you everything is going to be OK. Simply put, once you’ve lost big, your future will always look different than you thought it would. It can still be good though. If we have trusted in Christ for salvation, we can still see hope and still choose joy, even when life is hard. We know that things will somehow be OK because God has a plan that is far greater than we could imagine.

In the meantime, during this in-between season, be intentional about seeing God’s hand in your life. Write down gifts each day from him. They can be major things like the salvation of a family member or minor things like being able to sleep through the night without a kid waking you. This intentional act of being thankful can help us be grateful even when life is hard.

Sweet friend, know that God is always with you, and in all of his abundant goodness and grace, he will restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. May that be our prayer today and every day.

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The Struggle is Real: An Honest Look at Anxiety and Depression

It’s a subject no one really wants to talk about. We whisper about it. We know it exists, but no one wants to acknowledge it. It’s hard, but we struggle with it behind closed doors. Here’s the truth: we’ve all lost something, and with loss, comes grief. Some of you, like me, have lost a husband. Some have lost a child. You may have lost a job or a friend. We’ve all lost or had to modify dreams. When we lose, we hurt.

I’m not much of a numbers person, but I think they’re important to emphasize a fact here. 15 million people in America struggle with depression, and most of them are women. However, only about a third of those people will actually get help with their depression. One in every four women will suffer from major depression at some point in their life. We don’t want to talk about it, but depression is real; many women struggle with it at some point in their life.

Depression isn’t just sadness. It’s lack of energy, trouble sleeping, and loss of interest in the things we previously found joy in doing. It may include frequent crying, but it can also include irritability. We may overindulge in food or we may lose our appetite. It may be hard to concentrate. Depression doesn’t necessarily look the same in every person.

Anxiety is often linked to depression because worrying about things can naturally lead to depression. Many people struggle with both. In fact, more than 18% of people struggle with anxiety. Again, women are twice as likely to struggle with it as men, but yet, only a third of people seek help with anxiety. We’ve been taught and trained that women can do it all, and the truth is that we can’t, at least not long-term. Eventually, we break down. If you’ve lost a spouse, like me, you may have tried to do everything you used to do AND everything your husband used to do. Then, I wonder why I am so exhausted all the time.

I struggled with both depression and anxiety in the early days after losing Trevor, but even now, I still struggle with depression. I wish we would all be more open about the fact that it’s OK to not be OK. In fact, I quit taking an antidepressant at one point and a few months later, I decided I needed to go back on it. Life is hard, and it’s OK to get help if it helps you to be a better woman and a better mom. Counseling can be helpful. Exercise can be helpful. A regular bedtime and waking up time can be helpful.  Getting your thoughts down on paper (or a computer) can help. The point is, it’s OK to be intentional about doing things that help you to cope with the up’s and down’s of life.

Let me encourage you if you’ve ever struggled with or are struggling now with anxiety or depression. There’s not “something wrong” with you. We don’t have to hide what we’re going through, and we can certainly be open in prayer with God about how we feel. He knows anyway, and he wants us to come to him with our pain. In fact, he tells us to do just that. He wants to carry our burdens because he cares for us. When we go through the valley, he doesn’t promise a quick fix, but he does promise us his presence. Always. And he never, ever breaks his promises. In fact, David struggled with depression. We can tell from the words of his psalms. He says in Psalm 42:6, “My soul is cast down within me; therefore I remember you.” In the very next psalm, he asks why he goes around mourning. It’s not wrong to feel depressed, but during these times, we must cling to the promises of God and stand on the truth of His word, even when we don’t feel it. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, don’t trust or depend on your feelings; trust and depend on the word of God. If we speak truth to our heart through daily reading of the Word, through prayer, and through other believers, that truth will eventually seep back into the fibers of our soul. Until then, know that our Lord is holding you, and he will never, ever leave you alone.

 

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Choose Happy

 

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What do you do when you’re in the middle of hard, and you can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel? You are overwhelmed with responsibilities during the day and constantly feel distracted because you are juggling so many things. You lie in bed at night, second guessing everything you do and recounting your failures. You end each day spiritually, mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. What do you do when life doesn’t seem to be getting better? Choose to have a happy ending.

 It’s difficult when the end isn’t in sight, and we don’t know how everything will turn out. It’s now that we must trust God. In the Message, 2 Corinthians 5:17 says that “it’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going.”  We will believe even though we can’t see the end yet. We must fight for joy each day, in the midst of the hardship and pain. We plant our feet and claim God’s promises. We decide that our husband’s death wasn’t the end of our story but rather the opportunity for a new beginning. It’s not easy when we didn’t want a new beginning or a new story. We must remind ourselves that God is making us new, and that these trials are achieving something. Tell yourself right now, as often as necessary, that you WILL have a happy ending. I’m not sure what that will look like for you. I’m not sure what that will look like for me, but someday, somehow, God will give us a happy ending. 1 Peter 5:10 says, “After you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”

 Sweet friend, through the loss of our husbands, God is teaching us a whole new level of faith. We’ve experienced strength and grace from the Lord that we didn’t even know was possible. It’s still hard, but let’s plunge headfirst into this new life that God has given us. It may be messy, and it may be a little crazy, but let’s choose to make the most of it.  We will say to the Lord, “This is hard and chaotic and uncertain, but I will keep pressing on and keep pressing into you because I trust you.” 

 My kids have a tendency to whine and complain. Can you relate? I always tell them they can concentrate on the negative, or they can look for the positive. You will find what you look for. Look for the positive. Trust that life will become easier, better. We will get our happy ending, even though we don’t know what that will look like exactly. In the meantime, forge ahead without giving up. Do things for yourself to keep you going. Take heart. The best is yet to come.

 P.S. My counselor told me about Christian meditation. It’s something that can help you slow down and unwind for a few minutes. If you don’t know where to start, subscribe to a podcast called “Revelation Wellness.” The ones that say “Be Still and Be Loved” are the meditation podcasts. Give them a chance. They seem a bit weird at first, but it really is relaxing to listen to Scripture as you breathe deeply. Even if your children are yelling in the background. Enjoy.

Putting Out Fires

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Every summer, I enjoy my precious bit of free time by reading a few books merely for enjoyment or my own knowledge.  I like reading other people’s stories or losing myself momentarily in a work of fiction. 

I’m currently reading a book called Little Fires Everywhere.  It’s been good so far.  I feel as if that title describes my life most of the time.  I am constantly putting out fires everywhere.  Breaking up a fight between two boys.  Cleaning up a mess that Bo made.  Hurrying the kids into the car because we’re running late to a dentist appointment. 

It’s exhausting being a solitary firefighter, but God can also use the fires in our life to reveal to us his presence.  Moses had been in the wilderness of Midian for forty years.  Growing up in an Egyptian palace, this was probably not how he imagined his life would be like.  However, God spoke to him from a burning bush and used him to deliver the nation of Israel.  The people would wander in the desert for forty years because of their sin, but God lead them by night with a pillar of fire. 

You may be in a wilderness yourself right now.  Legal struggles with no end in sight.  Financial difficulties that don’t seem to ever get better.  Battles with depression or anxiety or insomnia or all of them.  Loneliness that threatens to crush you under its weight. 

Our gracious Lord wants you to know that this is all doing something in our lives.  These difficulties are “preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.”  (2 Corinthians 4:17)  Sometimes it feels as if God doesn’t see or care what you’re going through.  However, Scripture tells us over and over again that God sees, and he knows.  (examples – Exodus 2:25 and Genesis 16:13)  James 1 says that our trials are making us “perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” 

There’s a catch though.  God can’t do this work in an angry, bitter heart. 

It’s hard to accept the way our lives are versus the way we wanted them to be, but what if God is preparing you for something greater?  Joseph’s situation seemed hopeless.  For thirteen long years, he was trapped in slavery and then prison, but he didn’t turn against God.  One day, after he became ruler in Egypt (second only to Pharaoh), he was faced with the very brothers who had sold him into slavery.  He could’ve punished them, but he didn’t.  Joseph recognized that God’s hand had been on him all along, even in the darkest of times. 

If you’re struggling right now, maybe the best thing is to worship, do the best you can, and trust God with the outcome.  Remind yourself that this is hard, but it’s just a season.  Someday you’ll be past the hard times, and you’ll be able to look back and see that God has given you a story of his goodness and his grace. 

 

P.S. I occasionally treat myself to something pretty to lift my spirits.  If you need a little pick-me-up, here are links to two things I like.  Enjoy.

https://www.etsy.com/listing/639275791/blue-galaxy-theme-necklace-925-sterling?ref=yr_purchases

https://www.beautyandtheboutique.com/Daniel_Sandler_Luxury_Lipstick_p/ds-luxury-lipsticks.htm